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Emerging iron deficiency in teens 'down to energy drinks'

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Rising levels of iron deficiency among teenage girls could be linked to an increase in the amount of energy drinks they consume, it has been claimed.

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) warned that caffeine can inhibit the body’s uptake of minerals such as iron.

Recent research has shown that around two-fifths of girls and young women aged 11 to 24 have lower than expected iron intake. Other studies have indicated that one in 10 British teenagers consume as many of five cans of caffeinated energy drinks every week, the HFMA said.

“Iron-deficiency is a wide-scale issue which shouldn’t be ignored – particularly for teenage girls”

Graham Keen

A poll conducted by the association on 10,000 British adults found that three-quarters of 18 to 24- year-olds do not know that caffeine can restrict a person’s intake of these vital minerals.

The HFMA’s executive director, Graham Keen, said: “Micro-nutrients are essential for good health and wellbeing, and iron-deficiency is a wide-scale issue which shouldn’t be ignored – particularly for teenage girls.

Iron issue 'down to energy drinks'

“The public needs access to straightforward, responsible information about how essential vitamins and minerals work,” he said.

“Everyone should know that the best solution for most people is to consume key nutrients such as vitamins and minerals via as healthy a diet as possible, and it should also be recognised that a daily food supplement provides important insurance for millions looking to safeguard their nutritional intake,” he added.

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